Newsletter July 2010

ICRH Belgium Newsletter

 9th of July?, 2010



ICRH Kenya’s 10th anniversary

ICRH Kenya has been registered as an independent NGO in Kenya in May 2000, and has just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

For the last 10 years ICRH Ken ya had its main activities in the Coast Province. ICRH-K has become a key player in Kenya in the area of HIV and Sexual and Rep roductive Health and Rights adding to the body of knowledge and best practices through clinical and health systems multidisciplinary research, teaching and training, service delivery and advocacy.
Some of the key activities included the Kesho Bora Study whose findings in the area of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission as well as infant feeding practices were incorporated in the new WHO guidelines in these areas. The cervical screening programma at the Coast has introduced cervical cancer screening at primary health care level, as well as colposcopy services at Coast Provincial General Hospital, the first provincial hospital offering these services. ICRH-K is very active in the search for women-controlled protective methods, such as female condoms, diaphragms, microbicides. A multi-site study on safety biomarkers for phase I and II vaginal microbicide trials is currently ongoing.
ICRH Kenya actively wants to translate research findings into activities at community level. Our work in the most at risk populations such as female sex workers is the core of the HIV prevention work in this area. More recent examples  include the work among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and the Male Sex Workers in Coast Province, and the Gender Based Violence Recovery Center at the Coast Provincial General Hospital.
More information:




The FP7 proposal submitted by the ICRH Maternal Health team and entitled: ‘Missed Opportunities in Maternal and Infant Health: reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in the year after childbirth through combined facility- and community-based interventions’ (MOMI) has been approved for financing within the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission .

The main objective of this research project is to improve maternal and newborn health through a focus on the postpartum period, adopting context-specific strategies to strengthen health care delivery and services at both facility and community level in four sub-Saharan countries:  Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.
The MOMI research project is based on the hypothesis that there are significant missed opportunities for improving maternal and child health and that an improved configuration of, and emphasis on, postpartum services will reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. The research will examine how postpartum services could best be organised to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality and be provided within existing health systems and constraints. MOMI is a health system research project. The overarching study design is a longitudinal, multiple ‘case study’, with the ‘case’ being a ‘health district’ in one of the African study countries.
The study will start during the first quarter of 2011 and run during 5 years. The total budget is 3 million Euro.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of 8 research institutions: ICRH Belgium (coordinator), the Medical Faculty of the University of Porto, Portugal; the University College of London, U.K.;   Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Burkina Faso; ICRH Kenya;  the Parent and Child Initiative of the Kamuzu Central Hospital and Ministry of Health, Malawi; ICRH Mozambique, and the Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique.

The MOMI project:

More information:


Design contest
Senperforto, a research project for prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the European Reception & Asylum sector, has launched a design contest.

Are you a refugee, asylum seeker, unaccompanied minor or undocumented migrant residing in a European reception initiative (open or closed reception centre, local reception initiative or other) or are you a professional working in the European reception and asylum sector? Are you living in one of the following countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Hungary or Ireland?
Would you like to contribute to the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in the European reception and asylum sector? Do you believe you have artistic talents?
Then create a design in the form of a comic, cartoon, an oil painting, a drawing, a picture, a collage, or whatever you consider appropriate. As long as it fits on an A4-format you can let your creativity run wild!
The 12 most original and most striking designs will be used as a postcard, poster and flyer. Together they make a Sensitisation Kit for the Prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. This Sensitisation Kit will be distributed in reception and asylum centres all over Europe.
Do not worry if your design is not elected. All designs will be exhibited at a European seminar on Friday, December 10th, 2010 in Brussels.
More information:


Rector of University of Cuenca (Ecuador) visits ICRH

On June 22th, Mr. Jaime Astudillo Romero, the rector of the University of Cuenca (Ecuador), has paid a visit to the ICRH offices in Ghent.

The visit took place within the context of a cooperation agreement that exists between the university of Ghent and the university of Cuenca. The faculty of medicine and health sciences of the University of Cuenca collaborates as a partner in the CERCA project. CERCA is a participatory action research project that tests interventions for an improved reproductive health for adolescents in Latin America (, ).
During the meeting, views were exchanged about the current CERCA project and future cooperation possibilities were explored.
The meeting was also attended by Mr. Arturo Carpio, responsible within the University of  Cuenca for IUS projects, Prof. Dr. Guido Wyseure, coordinator of the Flemish IUS projects with the University of Cuenca and prof. Jan De Maeseneer, representing the department of Family medicine of Ghent University. All expressed there hope to continue and extend the existing and productive collaboration between the Flemish Universities (in particular the University of Ghent) and the University of Cuenca.
More information:


Millennium Development Goals 2015: time is running…

In 2000, 189 UN members signed the Millennium Declaration, committing to 8 concrete, measurable targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. A coalition of Belgian NGOs wants to draw the attention of public and policy makers to the need to take urgent action, by organizing a mass event on 11 September in Ghent-Belgium.

The Millenn ium Development Goals (MDG) include among others equal opportunities for boys and girls in education, more means to fight HIV/AIDS, a decrease in maternal and child mortality, and efforts to improve the environment.  Progress has been made since 2000, but the overall results so far are from satisfactory. Every year, 2 million people die from AIDS, and in Central-Africa, one out of 16 women dies during childbirth.
A group of not-for-profit organizations in the field of international development, among which ICRH Belgium, has formed a coalition called ‘2015 – the time is running’ with the aim of launching campaigns to insist  on stepping up the efforts to reach the MDG. The major event for 2010 is the ‘Waiting Night’: at l least 10,000 people are expected to gather on September 11 at the Sint-Pietersplein in Ghent, and to symbolically ‘wait’ together for the realization of the MDG. Waiting doesn’t have to be necessarily dull, so there will be lots of concerts, performances, speeches, debates and so on. The programme and all other relevant information can be found at
More information:


ICRH Belgium Fun Day

On June 30th, ICRH Belgium held their ‘Fun Day’, an annual team building event.









The team enjoyed a relaxed and pleasant afternoon and evening, with plenty of food & drinks, games and sun.



SGBV Prevention Training Manual

Senperforto, the international participatory research project for prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the European Reception & Asylum Sector, has developed the SGBV Prevention Training Manual "Make it Work!". It is the first tool in a broader Frame of Reference for Prevention of SGBV in the European Reception & Asylum Sector.

The "Make it Work!"-manual is primarily designed for professionals and/or residents who wish to set up SGBV prevention activities or to develop an SGBV prevention policy in their asylum or reception centre. 
However, with slight adaptations of wording in the exercises, it can easily be used in any other intercultural setting where prevention of SGBV is at stake.
The purpose of the "Make it Work!"-manual is to:
a) Develop a better understanding of the factors that influence SGBV
b) Increase communication skills on sexual health and SGBV
c) Stimulate group cohesion with the working group of professionals and residents in prevention of SGBV and promotion of health.
‘Make it Work!’ consists of five different modules: Getting started & wrapping up, Sexual & reproductive health & rights; Communication health & SGBV; Gender and Sexual & Gender-based violence. Every module has a logical build-up of exercises and information. We indicate what the aims are, what material you need, how much time the exercise takes and guide you step by step through the exercises. You can find backgroundinformation for the participants on handouts.
‘Make it Work!’ is available in hard copy in English (CD-rom included) and can be ordered for free (only postal costs to be paid) at the ICRH, see!%20manualsx.pdf.
 By the end of 2010 the handouts will also be available in 12 languages on CD-rom and on the ICRH website.
More information:


“Barriers to VCT despite 13 years of community-based awareness campaigns in a peri-urban township in northern Limpopo”

In this scientific letter, Petra De Koker and colleagues discuss the results of a qualitative study conducted in 2005 in the light of increased access to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in 2009.

A qualitative study was conducted to identify motivations for and barriers to uptake of HIV testing among people living in a township in which an HIV/AIDS awareness group has been active since 1996. Fear and lack of information appear to be the main barriers. The authors argue whether the participants’ expressed need for more information would decrease the barriers for VCT and recommend that factual information be combined with communication, behavioural and life skills to increase VCT uptake and as an entry point for ART.
The abstract can be downloaded at
De Koker P, Lefèvre P, Matthys F, van der Stuyft P, Delva W. Barriers to VCT despite 13 years of community-based awareness campaigns in a peri-urban township in northern Limpopo. SAMJ, June 2010, Vol. 100, No. 6.
More information:


“Reproductive health services for populations at high risk of HIV: Performance of a night clinic in Tete province, Mozambique”

Yves Lafort, Diederike Geelhoed and colleagues present in this research article the results of a performance evaluation that assessed the relevance, service utilisation, efficiency and sustainability of a stand-alone clinic providing HIV prevention and other sexual and reproductive health services to female sex workers and long-distance truck drivers in Tete, Mozambique.

The authors concluded that maintaining a separate clinic for most-at-risk populations (MARP) is justified because of the large size of the target populations, satisfaction of clients and endorsement by health policy makers. Cost-effectiveness may be enhanced by broadening the range of services, adapting opening times, expanding geographical coverage and targeting additional MARP. Long-term sustainability remains challenging and requires private-public partnerships or continued project-based funding.
The article can be read and downloaded at
Lafort Y, Geelhoed D, Cumba L, Lázaro CD, Delva W, Luchters S, Temmerman M. Reproductive health services for populations at high risk of HIV: Performance of a night clinic in Tete province, Mozambique. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010 May 28;10:144.
More information: